Friday, August 31, 2012

USC won't make Coliseum available to opponents for walk-throughs

USC won't make Coliseum available to opponents for walk-throughs
Published on latimes.com | shared via feedly
So much for Southern California hospitality. Just in time for Norm Chow's return to the Coliseum as Hawaii's head coach, USC Coach Lane Kiffin confirmed Thursday that USC would no longer make the stadium available to visiting teams for walk-throughs the day before games.

"It shouldn't be a big deal," Kiffin said. "We don't go to other people's stadiums."

Schools customarily make their stadiums available to visiting teams for walk-throughs.

Alabama, the defending national champion, allows walk-throughs, a school spokesman confirmed. And UCLA went through a walk-through at Rice Stadium on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday night's opener.
 Grab the rest here.

Kiffin says the measure is being taken solely to preserve the field, and he doesn't conduct walk-throughs on his road trips, by the way.

Courtesy has never been a bright spot on Kiffin's resume, and a decision like this only adds to his reputation for classlessness.

As for his reasoning--protection of the field's turf--there is no significant damage that a team can do in a one-hour walk-through that a competent turf manager can't address before kickoff.  

Morning Six Pack: August 31, 2012

imageFarewell, August. Bring on September and a season full of football! Check out these six college football stories from around the country.

Leach's Wash. State debut falls flat, while BYU flexes its muscles

Mike Leach's Washington State debut was a certifiable dud, at least to anyone whose first exposure to the 2012 Cougars was Thursday night's nationally televised 30-6 loss to BYU.

Denard Robinson won't go all Cam Newton on Nick Saban and Alabama

Michigan QB is good, but he's not all-time-great good.

Out of jail, ex-USC LB back on scholarship

With top-ranked USC’s season opener against Hawaii just two days away, the Trojans have actually added a scholarship player to its roster. Or, re-added in this case.

New Irish QB Golson hopes to finish what he's starting in Dublin

Everett Golson has gone from the scout team to the first team, but just because he's starting at QB for Notre Dame Saturday doesn't mean the job is his to keep.

College football season returns just in nick of time

Storylines, great matchups help usher in the start of the 2012 season.

Quotable:

Besides, if Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier wasn't already convinced Connor Shaw is his favorite quarterback since Rex Grossman, he was after Shaw gutted out the win despite a painful shoulder bruise that left his throwing arm hanging limp after several plays. Also, tailback Marcus Lattimore played his first game since tearing his ACL last October, shook off a fumble on his first carry and finished with 23 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks learned a valuable lesson about preseason hype. It doesn't mean anything when the lights come on.

"Maybe it's good for us ... You look at the preseason press, we thought we were hot stuff," Spurrier said. "Then we almost got that stuff beat out of us."

That's the good news. The bad news? South Carolina's line didn't protect Shaw. If Vandy's defense can terrorize Shaw, imagine what Georgia and LSU will do. The Gamecocks' defensive line, after a ferocious start, did not return the favor much in the middle quarters against Vandy quarterback Jordan Rodgers. Also, South Carolina needed a questionable no-call on a throw to Jordan Matthews to survive Vanderbilt's final offensive possession. On replays, South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger appeared to whack Matthews' left hand away before the ball arrived. Afterward, Commodores coach James Franklin said exactly what he thought about the call by his refusal to talk about the call. "You did know the SEC just came out with very clear rules about talking about the officials and what happens after games," Franklin said. "Trying to get me fined?"

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Morning Six Pack: August 30, 2012

imageThis is it. Now, you behave yourselves. And slow down, Here are your six college football stories from around the country. Ok, I can’t calm down, either. IT’S HERE, Y’ALL.

Miss. St. disassociates from booster

I say again… Can’t even cheat right.

Preparations for Michigan

The football team held a two-hour practice on Wednesday at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility as it continued preparations for the season opener against Michigan.

TIgers to use running back by committee vs. Clemson

Good luck, y’all. It should be productive—they gave up 70 once… LOL

Former RB says Irish need bad guys

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick took exception Wednesday to comments by former Irish running back and current radio analyst Allen Pinkett, who said a team needs to have some bad guys.

Time to find out if rebuilding has worked

Texas: Time to find out if rebuilding has worked [...] the guy who threw eight interceptions and only four touchdown passes last year needs to prove he has improved as much as his coaches say.

Quotable:

No C-USA team begins the season ranked, but there will be some early opportunities in non-conference to make statements on the national stage.

UCF plays Ohio State and Missouri; SMU will take a Southwest Conference reunion tour with games against Baylor, Texas A&M and TCU; and Southern Miss plays a what-were-you-thinking schedule that includes Nebraska, Boise State and Louisville during the opening month. Marshall and UTEP have tough season openers against West Virginia and Oklahoma, respectively.

Levine said Houston is not focused on the move to the Big East.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LOLLICOPTERS: Saban is "boring and predictable."

Michigan radio host: 'Alabama has no idea what is coming'
Published on Sports Impact | shared via feedly
Simsonson questions Saban's coaching ability and believes Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has proven himself to be a more effective game planner.

"He knows how to game plan against an opposing offense as good as anyone I've ever seen, college or pro," Simonson writes of Mattison. "Saban has won titles based on running the football, stockpiling talent and recruiting, and not a lot of out-of-the-box coaching. His style is boring and predictable."

Simonson also predicts the Wolverines will finish 14-0 and win the national championship, with quarterback Denard Robinson winning the Heisman Trophy.
Homers gonna homer.

Mr. Simonson, you might want to ask Les Miles, Frank Beamer and Tommy Bowden how "boring and predictable" a Nick Saban coached team can be when it's given this much time to prepare for a game.

You might also want to tone down the rhetoric, lest your comments appear taped to a wall near the game planning bulletin board.

Morning Six Pack: August 28, 2012

imageStormwater management, and six college football stories from around the country (we’re fine y’all. Thanks for asking and thanks for reading. Love you, too).

Ex-Vols WR Da'Rick Rogers says drug tests led to his exit

Don’t smoke it. Don’t drink it. Don’t snort it and don’t shoot it and you’ll make millions later. How hard is that?

Nick Saban HATES depth charts 

There wasn’t much mystery about who would start for Alabama against Michigan on Saturday night. But the No. 2 picture came into focus when the Crimson Tide released the two-deep chart on Tuesday.

Chizik addresses recent disciplinary issues

AUBURN - Before Auburn coach Gene Chizik could address Clemson at his first game week news conference Tuesday, the conversation steered toward recent disciplinary issues with the program. 

Assault and battery

The Madison Police Department has arrested three men for their alleged involvement in the assault of University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball.

New rules will impact 'one of the most violent plays'

College football kicks off Thursday night, and no one seems sure what will happen — on the kickoffs, that is.

Quotable:

The SEC has depth. Its teams inhabit half of the top 10 to start the season. Five teams. That has never happened, at least not in the SEC. For the nation's best conference, that means there is plenty of room to fail. One team loses and it's next man up from down South to take its place.

You might have noticed that the top 10 is a good place to lift off. Eleven of the 15 champions in the BCS era have started there. The average preseason rank of a national champion since 1998 is 7.5.

The SEC has five on the launching pad. Five.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Morning Six Pack: August 28, 2012

imageOur storm prep consists of a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread and six college football stories from around the country.

Boilermakers indefinitely suspend LB Beckford

Purdue has suspended troubled linebacker Dwayne Beckford indefinitely after he was arrested earlier Monday.

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde runs over coach

Here’s Urban Meyer laughing as one of his coaches gets run over by Carlos Hyde. That’s all you need to know. Football is almost here!

Forde-Yard Dash: A breathless sprint to start the 2012 college football season

For all of the sport's scandal and turmoil, college football promises another season packed with its usual thrills and highlights.

Lacy looks ready for Tide opener

Alabama running back Eddie Lacy feels fine, and that's not good news for Michigan.

Fariyike becomes center of attention

Chances are, Tunde Fariyike won't be perfect Saturday. He'll sure try. Elevated from sophomore backup to Auburn's starting center in place of the indefinitely-suspended Reese Dismukes, Fariyike strives for flawless and little else.

Quotable:

Not one player left the program. No wholesale changes were made to schemes. No assistants jumped from a well-regarded staff. The notoriously fractured fan base appears to be galvanized. And despite offseason turmoil, the Razorbacks, with a favorable schedule that includes Southeastern Conference heavyweights Alabama and LSU at home, think they are poised to achieve what running back Knile Davis said was this season's only goal: a national championship.

"All or nothing," Davis said.

Sitting at his office desk in mid-August, Smith was asked whether he would have returned to Arkansas for a short-term deal had the Razorbacks not been national title contenders. He paused before saying, "I have a lot of love for these guys. Everybody wants to be needed. Maybe I look at it like, 'Doggone it, maybe they needed me.' "

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Monday, August 27, 2012

SEC Previews: Week 1 • Including TV Schedule and Vegas Spreads

By: @LivingCrimson

Alabama Michigan Dallas logo

AP and Coaches Poll rankings courtesy of ESPN. Betting lines courtesy of Vegas Insider consensus picks (blue, in parentheses) Over/under at the link. 2011 conference standings may be found at USAToday.

Marquee Matchup: SATURDAY, SEPT. 1
Alabama
(#2) (-13.5) vs. Michigan (#8)
8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT • ABC
Arlington, TX • Cowboys Stadium (86,798)

SEC vs. the Big Ten. An underrated quarterback who ain’t nothing but a winner vs. a Heisman darling. Can Alabama do to Michigan what it did to Michigan State?

True the Tide defense lacks returning starters, but it in no way lacks playing time. Most of the players were in the rotation for the history-making 2011 squad that allowed only 9 touchdowns. The defensive line has led the nation or been in the top ten for the past four years at stopping the run, and this year’s configuration looks to continue the tradition. The linebacking corps is so deep, there are no true “starters.” Players rotate in based on their strengths in the situational defense. Opposing quarterbacks never really see what hits them. New-again starting cornerback Dee Milliner ranked in the SEC and nationally last year in passes defended. Veteran safety Robert Lester and ball-hawk linebacker C.J. Mosley have also ranked nationally for passes defended. (The Wolverines were fifth worst in the nation last year for throwing interceptions.)

The really intimidating factor for this year’s Bama defense? Nick Saban says this is the most physically conditioned group he has ever put together in Tuscaloosa, and all of them can play. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart says it has been hard to pick the starters because the players are even in skills, “The ‘two’ is as good as the ‘one’. Sometimes, the ‘three’ is as good as the ‘two’.” Sixty minutes of big, monstrously strong – and fresh – players for the Tide.

Michigan returns most of its starters from a stellar season – except in the trenches. A young and inexperienced defensive line benefits from its strong Wolverine coaching staff, but has very little real game knowledge. It faces an Alabama offensive line considered the best in the nation, featuring four returning starters and three preseason All-Americans. Running behind the Bama bulldozers is SEC-leading yards per carry and top ten scorer Eddie Lacy, along with a full contingent of bruising, speedy backs to keep him fresh. Unless Michigan starts a DeLorean, it will be tough to prevent the Tide from controlling the clock.

Just for extra style points, Alabama returns its SEC-best completion percentage and national championship MVP quarterback A.J. McCarron. The Tide receivers are a blend of game experience with blazing speed, and Saban expects them to stretch the field vertically and horizontally. He thinks there is “probably the best chemistry that we've had in a long time between the quarterbacks and the receivers.” Did we mention ZERO quarterbacks in SEC history have thrown fewer interceptions in +200 passes than McCarron? While he played almost the entire season with a dislocated labrum in his right shoulder which required surgical repair after the BCS title game? Well, now we did. The Michigan secondary returns intact and wasn’t even a blip on the national radar for passes defended.

The Michigan offensive line is a work in progress as well, and the middle may be especially vulnerable to pressure. So it’s a good thing quarterback Denard Robinson hasn’t discovered the Zen of pocket passing since he’ll probably lack the real estate. Then again, Shoelace doesn’t need protection to turn scrambles into broken plays for big yards, so there’s that. (Love that picture!) The Wolverines have so few players in the receiving corps, they have been practicing backup QB Devin Gardner exclusively at wide receiver. So even if Robinson stands steely in the tackle box, his chances of finding consistently open receivers en route against a stingy Alabama D are about as good as quickly sinking an opponent in Battleship.

All of the preceding was just a lead-up to the simple statement: I agree with Vegas. However, I beseech you not to take your money and run with my prognosticating, such as it is. In all fairness, the last time I was this upbeat about a Crimson Tide game, November 5th happened. Beyond the Bets says Alabama “owns the betting market right now,” going 17-9 against the spread over the last 26 games. Welp, carry on then.



paragraph-divider-7

SEC 2012 media guide coverThe entire slate of SEC games, in order by broadcast times. All other CFB games this week are listed on the ESPN schedule for TV listings.

THURSDAY, AUG. 30
South Carolina (#9) (-6.5) at Vanderbilt
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN
Nashville, TN • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550)

The million dollar question for South Carolina fans is the recovery of running back Marcus Lattimore's knee, not only for this game but for the season. To expect him to be at full strength only nine months after such a severe injury is a little unrealistic. South Carolina also lost some key play-makers on both sides of the ball, however South Carolina's talent is simply far superior to Vanderbilt. Vandy made the school's fifth bowl game ever in 2011 and returns 18 starters, including Aaron Rodgers’ little brother Jordan at quarterback. There is no doubt this game is a much bigger deal to Vanderbilt playing at home, where they were extremely competitive in 2011. – Vegas Insider

*Update: Final...South Carolina 17, Vanderbilt 13

Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech (WAC)
7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Shreveport, LA • Independence Stadium (49,147)

The Louisiana Tech athletic director said a number of options are on the table if the game must be moved due to weather conditions from tropical storm Isaac. He said a decision would be made on Tuesday. – Shreveport Times

*Update: The game has been postponed to Saturday, Oct. 13.

FRIDAY, AUG. 31
Tennessee (-3) vs. North Carolina State (ACC)
7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Atlanta, GA • Georgia Dome (71,147)

QB Tyler Bray’s favorite target, WR Da’Rick Rogers, was “suspended indefinitely” and today his transfer to Tennessee Tech became official. “These two teams match up particularly well, but Tennessee should come out on top. They are the most desperate team.” (Saturday Down South)

*Update: Final...Tennessee 35, North Carolina State 21

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1
Georgia (#6) (-38) vs. Buffalo (MAC)
12:21 p.m. ET / 11:21 a.m. CT • ESPN3, SEC Network
Athens, GA • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

This could be a contest of which team has more players suspended. Right now, it’s Georgia. Buffalo has suspended Nagurski Award nominee, star LB Khalil Mack. “Buffalo played Tennessee in Neyland Stadium last year, losing 41-10.” (AJC) That’s pretty much all we need to know.

*Update: Final...Georgia 45, Buffalo 23

Florida (#23) (-28.5) vs. Bowling Green (MAC)
3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • ESPN
Gainesville, FL • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (88,548)

Florida will alternate quarterbacks in the first and second quarters. Bowling Green can't exactly be thrilled that Florida is treating this game a lot like an intrasquad scrimmage. – Dr. Saturday

*Update: Final...Florida 27, Bowling Green 14

Arkansas (#10) vs. Jacksonville State (FCS)
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN3, Arkansas PPV
Fayetteville, AR • Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)

Running back Knile Davis is back. Woo-pissy! And interim head coach John L. Smith promptly criticized him. “The first time they tackled him all the way to the ground, he coughed the ball up. But the ground caused the fumble, so it would not have been a fumble. ... He's ready to go, though.” (CBS)

*Update: Final...Arkansas 49, Jacksonville State 24

Auburn (#25) (Coaches) vs. Clemson (#14) (-2.5) (ACC)
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Atlanta, GA • Georgia Dome (71,147)

This is the second best the ACC has to offer against the 7th or 8th best the SEC has to offer and the line is only a field goal. Clemson's QB Tajh Boyd is the key to this game. If he plays like he did to start 2011, then Clemson should be fine. If he plays the way he ended 2011, they are in trouble. The bad news for Tajh is that he'll be without wide receiver Sammy Watkins (suspension). Quite frankly, this is a must-win game for the ACC. – Vegas Insider

*Update: Final...Clemson 26, Auburn 19

LSU (#1/#3) (-44) vs. North Texas (Sunbelt)
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Baton Rouge, LA • Tiger Stadium (92,542)

This game may be moved due to tropical storm Isaac. (Times-Picayune)

On the heels of losing star player Tyrann Mathieu, LSU’s leading rusher Michael Ford may be academically suspended along with backup linebacker Tahj Jones. Its second leading rusher Spencer Ware has also missed practices and scrimmages. (USAToday) Suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton delivered a motivational speech to the North Texas team. (Times-Picayune) Yes, that’s not a typo – Payton is anti-Louisiana this weekend.

*Update: Final...LSU 41, North Texas 14

Mississippi State vs. Jackson State (FCS)
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • Fox Sports South, EPSN3
Starkville, MS • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (55,082)

Jackson State is an in-state FCS school for Mississippi State. (Clarion-Ledger) One can judge how challenging is the opponent by how many billboards Dan Mullen places near their campus. In this case we’re guessing on a scale of 1-10 about, oh, a zero. This is not the FCS team that took down Ole Miss, though it sometimes is mistaken for Jacksonville State.

*Update: Final...Mississippi State 56, Jackson State 9

Missouri vs. SE Louisiana (FCS)
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN3, Missouri PPV
Columbia, MO • Memorial Stadium / Faurot Field (71,004)

Not only will this game represent the first ever Mizzou game in the SEC, it will also feature new field turf being debuted at Faurot Field and new uniforms for the Tigers. (SBNation) Those are your highlights, folks. Now we know why Vegas doesn’t care, unless we want odds on games won or lost while wearing new unis, in the SEC, in the rain, on new turf…

*Update: Final...Missouri 62, SE Louisiana 10

Ole Miss vs. Central Arkansas (FCS)
7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN3, Ole Miss PPV
Oxford, MS • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)

Brand new coach Hugh Freeze’s first mistake was using the Auburn phrase “All In.” Is it any wonder the biggest storyline is Ole Miss attrition? For those interested in just how much attrition, the Press-Register obliges. Don’t be surprised if this game could be déjà vu back to the Ole Miss season opening upset in 2010.

*Update: Final...Ole Miss 49, Central Arkansas 27

Alabama (#2) (-13.5) vs. Michigan (#8)
8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT • ABC
Arlington, TX • Cowboys Stadium (86,798)

The best the SEC has to offer against the best the Big 10 has to offer. We've seen this movie play out countless times over the last 10 years and it usually ends poorly for the Big 10. It's like going to see Titanic and hoping they don't hit the iceberg this time. Brady Hoke has done a great job turning Michigan around in his short time. Last year the Wolverines won 11 games, including a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech. But Hoke is not Nick Saban and Michigan just doesn't have the speed, strength, depth or talent that Alabama does. Alabama did lose quite a bit of talent on the defensive side, and while they will simply replace them with even more talent, they are still young and this is the first week. For that reason and that reason only I think Big Blue QB Denard Robinson will actually be able to give a young, inexperienced Alabama defense some problems. If Robinson has success early and often throwing down field on the young Bama secondary they could shock the world, if he doesn't this could get ugly. – Vegas Insider

*Update: Final...Alabama 41, Michigan 14

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
Kentucky at Louisville (#25) (AP) (-14) (BigEast)
3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • ESPN
Louisville, KY • Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (55,000)

The only preview of Sunday’s game you need…clicky for funny. Otherwise, the focus of this game seems to be on how hot the seat could be for Joker Phillips. (Courier-Journal) I predict lukewarm, the same as Kentucky fans attitude towards football.

*Update: Final...Louisville 32, Kentucky 14


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Morning Six Pack: August 27, 2012

imageIt is GAME WEEK, y’all. Make your travel and tailgating plans, then check out these six college football stories from around the country.

Tweets Indicate First Live Tackling For Razorbacks' Knile Davis A Success

Coaches gave the Arkansas running back his first full contact since last August when an ankle injury on an inside run ended his season.

Boise St. names Southwick starting quarterback

Boise State coach Chris Petersen named junior Joe Southwick his starting quarterback Sunday, giving tabbing the veteran backup as next in line behind record-setting Kellen Moore.

Notre Dame Suspends Starting RB Cierre Wood

Notre Dame suspended starting tailback Cierre Wood two games for violating team rules, leaving the Fighting Irish without their 1,000-yard rusher against Navy and Purdue.

Penn State trustees focus on future

Trustees conclude two-day meeting talking about ways to use the home football opener against Ohio as a public-relations moment.

Kevin Wilson issues challenge to assistant coaches

Heading into his second season, Kevin Wilson still is working on building depth for the Hoosiers. Even where there is depth, Wilson still doesn't feel completely comfortable,

Quotable:

"I've always been for a balanced offense, but one that could run the ball. Gene Stallings, Pat Dye and I, we all came up in that mode," Slocum said. "I have to say that my thoughts are changing. I watched this past year Bill Belichick at New England, who I have great respect for, first play of the game -- and this is a playoff game -- he's got five receivers deployed -- nobody in the backfield except the quarterback. So I'm sitting there thinking: Here's a guy who's a defensive-minded guy who's won a lot of football games and he starts this ball game by spreading people out.

"My son's a coach at Green Bay (Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum) and I follow the pro game quite a bit because of that, but if you look at how big and physical those defensive people are, it's really, really hard to line up and make a living just pounding the ball at them. I would make that same analogy in the Southeastern Conference. Big, physical active defenses. It's just, I would think, very hard to make a living trying to line up and bash them all downfield. So at some point, mixing in some explosive plays and tempo, spreading people out to maybe create some cracks ... I think there's some sense in that."

Slocum added that the evolution of 7-on-7 tournaments have also favored passing offenses. "The kids, they spend all summer throwing and catching, and they just get better at it," he said. "I went through a long period of time where the state of Texas produced almost no NFL quarterbacks. Now, we've got guys all over the country.

[ed note: I am on the road today and dealing with a tropical cyclone. Blog posts might be sparse.]

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

In light of recent “discipline” issues, these comments are right on topic, aren’t they?

After a devastating loss at home to Louisiana Monroe in his first season, Alabama coach Nick Saban made it clear that the team he’d inherited wasn’t living up to expectations. Here are excerpts from that press conference presented without further comment, Phillip.



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Dorial Green-Beckham is getting up to speed

DGB is getting up to speed
Published on Columbia Trib | shared via feedly
Dorial Green-Beckham spent his first few college practices running in slow motion. As he jogged to the line of scrimmage, coaches and teammates sometimes had to tell him where to line up and what route to run.

He has to think sometimes about running fast," Missouri receivers coach Andy Hill said after a week of practices.

That's not unusual for freshmen in Missouri's offense. But Green-Beckham isn't a usual freshman and didn't arrive with normal expectations. After two weeks, his rapid progress was obvious to everyone watching.
Grab the rest.

DGB may be the best offensive football player in the SEC this season. His kind of talent is extremely rare and Pinkel's offense is geared for his success. DGB is a major reason why many pundits think that Mizzou will make an early splash in the SEC East and could be legitimate division contenders.

Morning Six Pack: August 26, 2012

imageOh hell no you don’t Isaac. We have games to watch and these six college football stories from around the country to read.

He is the Ambassador of College Football. Deal with it.

Alabama's head coach proposes that college football's top "60 or 70" programs be divided into a separate division and play only against each other.

Les Miles: LSU has potential to be better than last year

"I like the personality," Miles says of his 2012 team. "I like the want to practice, the chemistry in the team room. These things seem to be maybe a little more sincere."

The running of the South Paws.

South Alabama's Fan Day is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Mitchell Center on campus.

Run, you sissy Hurricanes.

The looming threat of Tropical Storm Isaac is already affecting the Miami Hurricanes.

Georgia Bulldogs Splashing Around in the Pool

For weeks, the Georgia Bulldogs had been lobbying their head coach to get them to take them to the Ramsey Center for a pool day.

Quotable:

The number of times I heard “Roll Tide” over the course of a weekend in Tuscaloosa far outweighed the number of times I heard “Geaux Tigers” during my weekend in Baton Rouge.

All of this led to my main conclusion after spending time in each place on a nongame weekend: Alabama fans are, well, just crazier about their football team than L.S.U. fans are.

It pains me to admit this, mind you, as in SEC country, the sheer lunacy of the fan base one exists in is often a source of irrational pride. I’ve actually gotten into arguments with people over whose fan base tilts more toward the insane. But L.S.U. football in Baton Rouge is a sideshow — an elaborate sideshow people feel passionately about, yes, but a sideshow nonetheless. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama football is the main event, a full-blown circus in the Greatest Show on Earth tradition of P. T. Barnum. To put it bluntly, on any given day, Tuscaloosa is probably the closest thing to a college football theme park that a person could visit.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dear Phillip: No, it’s on the coaching staff

image I saw your column today and I can’t believe how wrong it was.

Your coaching staff makes millions of dollars and your school makes tens of millions because these football players have decided to sacrifice their bodies for a free education.

The staff has a responsibility to put a system in place that keeps these men-children from making bad decisions and teaches them the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and acting in the wrong way. They deserve the opportunity to grow up into the men any parent would want them to be.

Instead of assembling a staff of disciplined and principled men, this regime has put together a bunch of overgrown frat-house brothers. Instead of teaching men-children how to grow and develop as football players and productive members of society, they teach them how to party and have a good time.

A child misbehaves for a reason. It is the duty of the parent to determine what that reason is and make appropriate adjustments to how that child is being instructed so that the misbehavior stops and the right course is set. Kids need direction. They need leadership.

Once these 17- and 18-year olds leave home and join a prestigious institution in the Southeastern Conference, they need at least as much supervision and structure. Even older teenagers need routines. They need schedules for every waking moment of their lives. They need to understand that they are expected to be somewhere at a specified time and that when they get there, certain things must be accomplished. They need objectives and they need instruction on how to achieve them.

They need tough love, yes. But what they need more than anything else is guidance. They need attention. They need someone to listen.

They need help dealing with rampant substance abuse on college campuses. They need help in dealing with domestic situations. They need help in how to handle confrontations. 

Your staff provides none of that.

In three seasons at your institution, the coaching staff has so miserably failed in this department that three men are dead, four men are going to prison and uncounted others have lost the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.

The guy at the airport was right.



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Morning Six Pack: August 25, 2012

imageHere we sit, just one week away from starting our morning with ESPN Gameday. And six little somethings cold and fresh from around the country.

Crimson Tide turns attention to Michigan

For the past month, if you asked Alabama's football players about Michigan, you might get a few questioning looks: Michigan? Michigan who? Was Michigan in my history class?

Les Miles talks about Mo Isom and where the Tigers are one week from season opener

LSU Coach Les Miles talks to the media Friday after practice.

Sandusky victim sues Penn State

The young man whose 2009 allegations of sexual abuse led to the Penn State scandal and criminal convictions of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is asking a court to find the university also at fault.

Arkansas St. player banned for 2012

Arkansas State football coach Gus Malzahn said player Tres Houston has been suspended from the team for the 2012 season for violating team policy.

Kansas linebacker Shelby leaves program because of personal reasons

Kansas linebacker Jon Shelby has left the program for what coach Charlie Weis described as personal reasons.

Quotable:

"When you watch their players play, it's a joy for me personally as a coach because when they make a play they don't jump up and high-five and run around in circles," said Stallings, who was in Gulf Shores on Friday for SEC Beach Fest. "They go to the huddle and get ready for the next play. I appreciate that and I think it all starts with coach Saban."

Another similarity is stingy defense. Alabama led the nation in total defense in 2011 and allowed more than 14 points only once - in a 45-21 win over Georgia Southern. With Bill Oliver running the defense in 1992, no team scored more than 21 points against Stallings' Tide and only two - Florida and Mississippi State, scored more than 13.

"Anybody who saw the championship game has to be impressed with the defense of Alabama," Stallings said of the 2011 team. "When I was coaching, we were a good defense too - there's no question about that. ... Now you see more formations. People talk about the (wildcat) - we did that with David Palmer, we just didn't have a name for it." 

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Auburn’s Reese Dismukes arrested for public intoxication?

Online records indicate that Auburn center Reese Dismukes was arrested overnight on a charge of public intoxication.

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A quick check of other public records indicate that the individual shown on the report above is the Auburn center. What is not clear is the date of the arrest. However, records on this site are temporary, indicating that the arrest was very recent.

In July, Dismukes was at the center of another controversy, this one involving an altercation and racial slurs at an Auburn area fast food restaurant. In that incident, a father of two Auburn students accused Dismukes of provoking an altercation with his children and hurling racial slurs at them.

Dismukes was not arrested in connection with that incident.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Heartbreak: LSU Homecoming Queen Mo Isom doesn’t make football team

Isom was attempting to make history as the first female football player in LSU history, but posted the following message on her Twitter page: 

"I am heartbroken, but my head is held high. Knowing I gave everything I had is the greatest victory. Unending thanks to my LSU football fam.(ily)"

Isom attended walk-on kicker tryouts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Heartbreak.

Coach at center of two NCAA investigations to hold press conference to “clear name”

Byron De’Vinner, the former UAB football player and the 7-on-7 coach at the center of two NCAA investigations plans to hold a news conference to clear his name, according to reports. Matthew Stevens of the Columbus Dispatch sent the following tweets Friday morning:

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De’Vinner, like many 7-on-7 coaches, believes that he and other members of his profession are being unfairly singled out in connection with the NCAA’s ongoing evaluations of the 7-on-7 phenomenon in youth football.

De’Vinner has been interviewed by the NCAA as part of two seemingly separate investigations. De’Vinner was the 7-on7 coach of Jovon Robinson, the Auburn freshman whose transcript was surreptitiously changed by a Memphis City Schools guidance counselor. Robinson has since been declared academically ineligible and will not play this year for Auburn.

De’Vinner also coached Mississippi State freshman Will Redmond. Mississippi State has confirmed that the NCAA is investigating what the school termed a “recruiting irregularity.” Media reports indicate that the investigation centers around a new Ford Mustang purchased for Redmond around signing day last February.

Bulldog coach Dan Mullen told reporters yesterday that Redmond continues to practice for the team.

Developing.

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Morning Six Pack: August 24, 2012

imageBeer and football are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. So, enjoy these six college football stories from around the country.

The BCS spent $1.5 million on lobbyists. The NCAA $1.92 million.

Throwing their weight around.

Mississippi State confirms NCAA looking into “recruiting irregularities”

Mississippi State has confirmed that they can’t even cheat right. 

2012 Alabama football preview: 'It's kind of a talent overload, man'

On a team built from the inside out, a new constellation of stars is ready to rise and reach for a third national championship in the past four years.

Quinn looks for aggression from defense

Like most coaches, Dan Quinn took time to evaluate his first season as Florida's defensive coordinator. One of Quinn's regrets? The Gators weren't aggressive enough going after the quarterbacks.

USC now posts their player’s Twitter names on their official bios

In case you ever wanted a list of the Southern California Trojan football player’s Twitter handles, look no further, they are now on the official USC site

Quotable:

We don't know much about Missouri, but what has struck me is the enthusiasm from Missouri fans, and the wanting to know everything about the SEC has really impressed me, probably much more so than even A&M fans. I think A&M fans feel like they belong. Missouri fans, I run into various writers. I ran into someone from St. Louis at the Final Four, and he said, "Hey, you've got to tell me, where's the best place to go in this city and that city?" People are calling me from Kansas City and other places. It's kind of refreshing because we're so used to the SEC, living here, that there's a curiosity that I didn't anticipate.

I think Missouri has a chance to be a surprise team. We're sitting here in early August, but I think Missouri's going to beat Georgia on Sept. 8 and somewhat shock the world, and I think if that happens, Missouri will be in a position. It's still going to be difficult. There's some games I don't see them winning, like at South Carolina, home against Alabama. But I really think after that, there's some possibilities. Whether Missouri can get enough wins to get to Atlanta, I think I probably wouldn't bet my house on it. But I do think Vanderbilt, Kentucky are wins. If Florida doesn't do well, maybe you steal one there. If Tennessee implodes like I think they will, maybe you could win in Knoxville. … I think Georgia's vulnerable, and I think that was a classic scheduling matchup by the SEC that I think they must have been thinking, "There's a chance this could happen, and how good would that be for the league?"

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mississippi State confirms NCAA investigation

Brandon Marcello, beat writer for the Clarion-Ledger, confirms that Mississippi State is being investigated for recruiting improprieties. He published a statement from the school on his Facebook page:

Mississippi State statement: "Over the last several months, Mississippi State has worked in cooperation with the NCAA to examine a potential recruiting irregularity. We are nearing the end of this examination, and it is our intent to provide additional details when it is complete."

Well, that explains the abrupt resignation of wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando, who cited “personal reasons” for his sudden departure.

ESPN also reported that the NCAA was interested in the recruitment of Mississippi State freshman wide receiver Will Redmond.

Redmond is from Memphis, the same area as Jovon Robinson, who was also reported to be under NCAA scrutiny for an academic scandal that made him ineligible at Auburn.

Depth leads the SEC to championship glory

Maisel: Depth leads the SEC to championship glory
Published on ESPN.com - College Football | shared via feedly
Most fans look at a depth chart and see a bunch of names and classes, heights and weights. A coach looks at a depth chart in search of a championship. Starters can take a team a long way, but starters can't play every down. Who comes in when a starter needs a break can make the difference between a good team and a championship team.

For all the stars that the Southeastern Conference has produced, it's the second line on the SEC depth charts that has propelled the league to the past six BCS championships.

"Your two is just as good as your one, even your one who is a superstar," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said. "You have another guy who's going to step right in and be a superstar. That, to me, is what the top teams have. I look at my depth when I was an assistant coach at Florida and we were winning championships [2006, 2008]. The quarterback room was Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Johnny Brantley. That's depth."
Ivan Maisel gets it.

Depth is going to be the reason why the SEC will likely produce (at least) one of the contenders for the BCS Championship game in Miami in January. We touched on that in this piece, explaining that as talented as USC is, they just don't have the quality depth two- and three-men back at key positions, especially up front.

Star power at the skill position is important. But depth in the trenches is more so.

Scroll down in Maisel's column to the key quote from Alabama's Barrett Jones:

"What I look for is somebody having their hands on their hips," Jones said. "They got their hands on their hips. They look tired. That's when I know we've got 'em. We're about to break the game wide-open. We go into that mode that O-linemen love so much. We start running it every play. They know it's a run, and we know it's a run. It's a great feeling."

Five Cities in Champions Bowl Sweepstakes

Five cities bid for SEC/Big 12's Champions Bowl
Published on Sports Impact | shared via feedly
Five cities ended up bidding for the new Champions Bowl -- New Orleans, Arlington, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio, according to sources familiar with the process.
ESPN first reported earlier this week that at least five of the 10 cities with bid packages sent in proposals. Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville also were offered the chance to submit bids, which were due Wednesday.
 
The SEC and Big 12 will evaluate the proposals over the next several weeks and jointly discuss their pros and cons. New Orleans and Arlington are considered the overwhelming favorites.

Without even being privy to the selection criteria, it's not hard to see how New Orleans and Arlington would be considered the favorites. Both are familiar with what the Southeastern Conference expects in terms of bowl revenue, and Arlington would have a pretty good idea of what the Big 12's representatives on the selection committee expect, too.

While the other cities can also claim familiarity with hosting a bowl game, it's a fair bet that NOLA and Arlington can actually pay what the conferences want them to.

Dr. Witt, why does the University of Alabama hate cookies?

image The University’s agent for licensing has sent a cease and desist order to Mary’s Cakes and Pastries, a small mom-and-pop bakery in Northport.


The letter came from Collegiate Licensing Co. in Atlanta, which has a contract with UA to provide licensing services for the university’s trademarked items.

The letter also demanded “that you advise us in writing of your compliance ... and furnish us a list describing each item manufactured and/or sold by you which bears the Marks of the University and each item that you presently have in inventory.

“Include the number and sales price of each item as well as profits earned. This information will be used to determine the amount of damages and legal costs due for your unauthorized use of the Marks,” the letter said.


Are you serious?

Here’s hoping that some grownups arrive in the office this morning and get control of this ridiculous situation. Protecting trademarks is one thing. Hounding businesses in your community for expressing the pride that comes with being part of the Bama Nation is another.

Leave Ms. Cesar alone.

UPDATE: The University has come to its senses.

Look, we understand the trademark issue and what damage could be done by allowing anyone and everyone to abuse the university's intellectual property. But this is not rocket science. The bakery and other small businesses in the community should be able to license the school’s trademarks at a rate that’s reasonable.

All they have to do is establish criteria for small operations like this and as long as the criteria aren’t arbitrarily applied, Mary’s Cakes and Joe’s Ribs can support the school that means so much to their community.

A community that, in the end, the school itself relies on so heavily to generate fan support and steadily rolling turnstiles.

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Morning Six Pack: August 23, 2012

imageOne week tonight, we raise our classes as the 2012 college football season kicks off. Here are six college football stories from around the country.

Stars not a big deal for Tide players

Alabama head coach Nick Saban seems to grab four- and five-star prospects on the recruiting trail at about the same rate sportswriters gobble up free food. But not everybody who lands in the starting lineup is a big-time recruit.

Rice loses tackle for season

College report: UH stages mock game; Rice loses tackle for season John Poehlmann, who entered preseason camp as the backup at right tackle, will miss all season with an ankle injury.

Dooley, Vols confident

Dooley has 10 returning starters on offense and seven on defense. Whereas the past saw confidence and positivity preached on uneasy footing, there's now a foundation when optimism is extolled.

LSU football coach Les Miles says Mo Isom is 'a very strong applicant' at kicker

Decision on former soccer player could come Thursday or Friday.

Montee Ball gets honored

Despite tumultuous offseason, Ball named a Badger co-captain.

Quotable:

"There's a whole myth about balance, and it's really stupid. The notion that you hand it to one guy half the time, and then you throw it to two other guys the other half of the time, and maybe you connect, maybe you don't. There's nothing balanced about it. There's two skill positions left out.

"Balance, whether you run it or throw it, is getting contribution from all the skill positions. Ours is a balanced offense. The wishbone is a balanced offense. Some I-tailback offense, it may be a great offense, it may be great for the team that they play for, where you're giving it to the back 40 times. There's nothing balanced about it. It doesn't even add up to balance. We try to be balanced based on contributions by all the skill positions."

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Izzy Gould: “I will not be the Senior College Sports Producer in Alabama!”

image Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the irony.

The state of Alabama is getting Izzy Gould back. In case you missed him, Izzy was one of two al.com Alabama beat writers at the Tuscaloosa Bureau, serving up quality sports reporting for the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.
Izzy’s work after the deadly April Tornadoes in Tuscaloosa was exceptional.

He left the al.com network in February to join the Sun-Sentinel to cover the Miami Dolphins.

He didn’t even make it through the off-season.

Last May, Advance Communications announced that they were reorganizing their on-line and print organizations, ending daily delivery of the three largest newspapers in the state of Alabama. At the same time, they announced expanded news coverage at al.com.

As the new Senior College Sports News Producer, Izzy will be leading a group of young, youngish and young-thinking news hounds that are social media and internet media savvy. News is expected to break much more quickly.

I have personally had a number of al.com and nola.com employees tell me that the holding company is  disgusted with other news organizations breaking stories on college sports developments in their territories.

Almost every major college football story in the Southeastern Conference region uncovered in the last two years was broken by someone other than an Advance-owned publication or website. That has chapped some important asses, and changes are being made.

I would suspect that the recall of Izzy Gould signifies the formation of a new focus on making sure the stories that should originate here actually do.

I also can’t wait for the presser where Izzy stands before the Miami Dolphins’ media royalty and says, clearly irritated:

“I will NOT be the Senior Sports Producer in ALABAMA.”

Poetry.

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Is Auburn self-imposing NCAA scholarship reductions, or something?

image Zeke Pike sent home. Jovon Robinson declared ineligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center (aka, the “clearinghouse”). WR DeAngelo Benton sent home for “undisclosed” violations of team rules. Jonathan Rose exiled to Lincoln, Nebraska. JaQuan Williams and Darrion Hutcherson stand on the verge of a trip to JUCO.

Two of the seven players signed in the 2012 recruiting class won’t play a down this season, and at least two more may not make it, either. Benton was a Senior WR who was expected to make a big difference on the field this year.

What is going on over there?

Auburn will be lucky to put a team on the field that has 70 players under scholarship for 2012. It will be the second straight year that the program has failed to get a full complement of the NCAA limit of 85 enrolled, qualified, in good standing and on the field.

Alabama fans who watched the 1997-2000 Mike Dubose regime debacle in Tuscaloosa see something very, very familiar going on here.

There are documented reports of the NCAA investigating academic issues associated with recent Auburn recruits, but as most college sports historians would concede—it wasn’t the NCAA that brought Dubose down. It was his and his staff’s inability to recruit, sign and maintain talent under (at the time) relatively light NCAA sanctions. I say relatively light because by today’s standards, Dubose should have been able to recover and field a championship worthy team in both 1999 and 2000.

Alabama won the SEC title in 1999, then imploded spectacularly in 2000.

We’ve seen this kind of implosion before. See Rich Rodriguez in 2009-2010. See John L Smith in 2005-2006. See… You get the point.

To his credit, Gene Chizik won a national championship in 2010 when he rode a great QB in Cam Newton. Newton and Chizik rode a path led by an offensive coordinator who devised the perfect system for that QB to win it all.

Mike Dubose could have done that.

Since then, Auburn has had five players kicked off the team for violent crimes, two of their best running backs kicked off the team and current and former players involved in a deadly shooting over the summer.

The headline of this blog post is a jab at my Auburn friends and family members. But the evidence shows that something wrong is going on over there.

It’s almost as if they’re self-imposing sanctions, or something.

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Is Alabama's defense in for a down year?

Is Alabama's defense in for a down year?
The defensive talent that defending BCS national champion Alabama lost to the National Football League in this past April's draft has been well-documented.

Strong safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, defensive tackle Josh Chapman and cornerback DeQuan Menzie were all drafted by NFL teams, which means that Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart have had their work cut out for them this offseason determining which pieces will fit best as replacements for those stars.

Losing all three starters, particularly Hightower and Upshaw, obviously weakened the linebacker corps. Even Jerrell Harris was a two-year starter. But keep in mind that Saban never rebuilds, particularly on defense. He simply reloads. And the Tide have plenty of options to fill in both on the inside and outside, including veterans Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley as well as sophomores Xzavier Dickson, Trey DePriest and Adrian Hubbard. Junior Jonathan Atchison, sophomore Anthony Orr and freshmen Ryan Anderson, Dillon Lee and Denzel Devall will also compete for time at outside 'backer.
Go get the rest.

It's a pretty good analysis from NFP's Dave Miller. As noted, the 2010 defense was very good, but nowhere near as good as the 2011 squad. This team could actually be a little deeper than 2011, although much of the talent is relatively untested vis-a-vis the veteran squad of a year ago.

To beat Alabama, opponents have to consistently move the ball down the field and score touchdowns when touchdowns are needed. The only teams to do that beat Alabama in 2010. No one did it in 2011. It'll be interesting to see if anyone can do that in 2012.

Morning Six Pack: August 22, 2012

imageAle in favor of these six college football stories from around the country, signify by shouting “AYE!”

It’s settled, the Iowa running back position is cursed

Iowa running backs are jinxed. It's a bold statement, but how else can you explain the epic bad luck that has befallen that position this past year, which includes three backs leaving the team and two suffering ACL tears?

Arizona State eyes commercial development field

School hopes fees generated from long-term project on its land in Tempe will help pay for improvements to its athletics facilities.

Michigan coach still undecided on suspended players

Michigan coach Brady Hoke told reporters Tuesday he isn’t sure if running back Fitz Toussaint or sophomore defensive end Frank Clark will play against Alabama.

Appeal denied

The NCAA has denied Duke's appeal for immediate eligibility for transfer Jeremy Cash.

Maryland loses its projected starting DE for the year too

The season-ending injury to quarterback C.J. Brown unfortunately will not be the only major one impacting the Maryland Terrapins this fall.

Quotable:

After what Tinker went through in the tornado – losing his girlfriend and his house and being hospitalized with injury – dropping a $30,000 piece of Waterford crystal wasn’t going to faze him.

Tinker, more than anyone, knows that far more can be gone in an instant.

The long snapper has been an inspiration to people ever since, but insists that he’s the one who is inspired when he sees the impact he can have on people outside of football.

“I’ve said this a long time ago and it’s been my mantra – to be a blessing to people,” Tinker said. “That's something I try to do every day. Look to be a blessing to somebody. That’s good to hear, but at the same time, you should just do it because it’s the right thing, you know? That’s why I do it.”

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Alabama Athletic Director admitted to hospital

Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore was admitted to Tuscaloosa’s DCH Acute Cardiac Care Unit, where he is being held for tests and observation as a precautionary measure.

The news began as a rumor on social media, with former football player Kerry Goode posting a request for prayers for Moore.

WVUA’s Daniel Sparkman learned that Moore was admitted to the hospital and is in stable condition.

We should learn more details tomorrow.

A release from the school said that he is “doing fine.”

Houston bids for SEC-Big 12 Bowl, playoff rotation

Houston bids for SEC-Big 12 Bowl, playoff rotation
Published on Yahoo! Sports - NCAA Football News | shared via feedly
Reliant Stadium has hosted a bowl game - currently the Meineke Car Care Bowl - since 2006. The venue, which also has a retractable roof, was the site of the 2004 Super Bowl and the 2011 Final Four. It is slated to host the Final Four again in 2016.

''We're really honored and very proud of the bid that we've put forth,'' said Heather Houston, the executive director of the Meineke Car Care Bowl. ''We feel like it'll stack up against any other market. We've got the strongest local economy, a beautiful facility here at Reliant Stadium, and also an avid college sports base; and of course the proven track record of hosting successful events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and, of course, the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.''

The bid is for 12 years, Houston said, and the goal is for the city to land one of the semifinal games in four of those years. The deadline for cities to submit bids is Wednesday, she said.
 Read the rest.

Reliant Stadium holds just under 72,000 which some might consider a tad on the small side. The Super Dome  in New Orleans has a capacity of about 77,000 and Cowboys Stadium in Dallas seats 81,000 but can hold over 100,000 when standing room areas are configured properly.

Still, Houston is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, and they've hosted big events before.

The drawback: Houston traffic is an unmitigated nightmare.

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